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Behind the scenes interview with Ashley Grove, Technical Team Leader

We caught up with our Technical Team Leader, Ashley, to give you an insight into his role and how he helps our clients to thrive through technology.

Can you describe a typical day in your role as a Technical Team Leader? What are your daily responsibilities?

Each day is different, so it’s difficult to say what’s in a typical day, but it often includes working on tickets for a range of clients and issues. I also aim to be available as much as possible to provide support to the team technically or morally.

I’m also heavily invested in documentation as that allows the rest of the team to work through issues more efficiently and without added stress of seeing an issue that they personally have not seen before.

Another point is I try to keep in touch with my team regularly, whether that’s through Teams or quick catchups in person – it’s a fast-paced department so keeping in the loop with people is important to its success. One-to-one meetings are also scheduled with the team each week, allowing for open communication of any matter as it’s a safe space to talk.

The experience and skillset gathered through my time working for MSPs has allowed me to provide and implement solutions for the services LMS Group provides, that then allows me to ensure the technical support provided is the best it can be for our clients whether that’s through me or members of the team.

What tools or software does your team rely on to streamline technical support and project management processes?

Microsoft Teams is a major tool used among Managed Services; it allows for continuous and constant communication among the team and allows for immediate support among those that may require it.

We also rely heavily on our remote tools, which allow us to support our client base from a remote location (home, office, or even abroad if needs be). Our ticketing system is also heavily relied upon as that is where our work is saved and scheduled; without it, working would be incredibly difficult.

Another tool we use is an IT documentation software specifically designed for IT service providers to store, organise, and share all confidential client data. Whether that’s documentation, passwords, or configuration of servers, workstations, networks, and much more.

What strategies do you employ to ensure effective communication and coordination among team members, especially when working remotely?

Regular updates between members of the team are integral to our overall performance; not every ticket needs discussing, but big changes and major incidents are best shared among the team to ensure knowledge is shared and silo working is prevented. We share this via Toolbox talks, Huddles, and general open communication wherever possible, all is possible via Teams and for those off work they are also recorded allowing people to rewatch at a later date.

How do you stay organised and manage multiple projects simultaneously, and are there any tools or techniques you find particularly helpful?

Our ticketing system allows us to categorise tickets allowing us to allocate the work to individuals best suited for the job, this ensures work is done correctly and efficiently and again the knowledge of the ticket if it’s something not seen before is shared daily via the team's morning Huddles. Tickets are then prioritised based on impact/urgency which allows the technician allocated to the work to work through incidents and problems in an agreed manner. The work then gets scheduled into calendars as a reminder to do the work. We also heavily use a booking system allowing our clients to schedule us in at their own convenience which saves a lot of back and forth and in turn resolves issues quicker. Time management and ticket maintenance are key skills to keeping on top of work.

What role does documentation play in your team's processes, and how do you maintain a knowledge base for future reference?

Documentation is incredibly important to the Managed Services team; it allows for work done by Professional Services (such as the implementation of servers and networks) to be easily maintained and allows us to support the product or service. It also allows us to set a standard of work that we can then ensure we meet each time we’re required to do so. Another benefit is that the incidents and problems resolved by the Escalation Team and Technical Team Leaders can be passed onto the 1st Response and Incident Team’s who can use it to support our clients further, as they are the team that provides immediate support.

We encourage continual improvement across the business, so whenever documentation is out of date it is reviewed as soon as possible to ensure service delivery continues. Technology is forever changing and therefore documentation needs to match alongside it.

Are there any team rituals, routines, or traditions that help foster a sense of unity and purpose within your technical team?

We host a huddle that lasts 30 minutes each day; this allows each member of the team to raise problem tickets from the day before and to discuss any new work for the day. We promote open communication constantly throughout the day to ensure we work as a team and not solo. An issue shared is an issue halved.

Can you discuss any innovative tools or methods your team has adopted to enhance technical support?

We use a system that pulls data mainly from our ticket system but from a few other platforms we use; this allows us to spot trends which in turn allows us to review and implement any required change to improve our products, services, and support.

The same system is used to catch certain types of tickets and issues so we can react quicker which works out better for the client – this is done via wallboards through the office that everybody can see and be aware of and is constantly worked on and improved as time goes on.

What is the most surprising or lesser-known aspect of your role as a Technical Team Leader that people might find interesting?

This is more of a personal aspect to my role, but I love resolving the bigger and more difficult incidents as it allows me to use all of my expertise to achieve a solution. It’s not that others aren’t able to, but I take great pride in doing a job properly and efficiently alongside the documentation and the training that I pass back to the team to allow others to grow.

Some people may enjoy doing the easy tickets as it allows them to have an easy job – for me, I’d rather work the difficult tickets as it provides a sense of achievement.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about leadership within a technical team and the unique dynamics it entails?

Working with different people requires the ability to adapt to ensure that each member gets the most out of what I’m able to offer. It’s not always what is being said but more how it’s said – through the members of the team having a good understanding of the subject it allows them to learn and develop.

How do you manage and adapt to changing client needs and evolving industry standards to ensure the continued success of your technical team?

LMS Group provides a range of products and services, as a team, we aim to be trained up in everything we provide to ensure we’re able to support it as and when the time comes. Training is a regular topic and with such an amazing team everybody is willing to learn and invest in themselves – training is kept on top of via Team Leaders and members of the Senior Leadership Team to ensure we’re ahead of the technological curve.

The difficulties come when we onboard new clients with systems that we’ve not seen before but that’s where the Escalation Team, Technical Team Leaders, and Professional Services team come together to ensure everything where possible is documented and that we have the support from third-party vendors when required.

There is enough knowledge within LMS Group that there isn’t an issue that we can’t resolve, be it through fixing the issue at the root cause or implementing a new solution that is better than the previously existing one.

It’s by having a keen personal interest in the industry that together, we are able to keep on top of technological advances.

In your opinion, what is the most exciting aspect of leading a technical team, especially in terms of the problem-solving and innovation you encounter?

I’d say there are two aspects to leading a team that I find exciting, the first one being there to support team members in any way possible, the success of my team is the success of myself. The second aspect is fixing the bigger issues that others aren’t able to – being that final step of the escalation process keeps me on my toes and allows me to apply my expertise.

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